EBE Hall of Fame inductees reflect diverse business interestsWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Four area businesses will soon be inducted into the Entrepreneurial & Business Excellence Hall of Fame (EBE HOF).
Honored for business excellence will be Hanson Inc., American Broadband + Telecommunications and The Oasis Restaurant & Delivery. Honored for excellence in family business will be Rima Manufacturing Company.
The EBE HOF recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs and business leaders who have built and sustained growing businesses and created jobs in the region, said Adam Davenport, EBE HOF chairman and president of Gorillas & Gazelles, founding sponsor of the event.
The companies will be inducted during a public ceremony Nov. 6 at The Pinnacle, 1772 Indian Wood Circle, Maumee. Networking will start at 5:30 p.m. with the first set of awards announced at 6:30 p.m. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served and a cash bar will be available. Tickets are $85.
The winner of the Davenport-Longenecker Lifetime Achievement Award will also be announced at the event.
For more information, visit www.ebehof.com.
— Sarah Ottney
Business Excellence: Hanson Inc.
Hanson Inc. started as five people working above a warehouse — the way CEO Steve Hanson still sometimes thinks of the company.
Today, the Maumee company has close to 80 employees creating websites, mobile applications and digital marketing for local and internationally known brands. The company also offers event management services.
What started in 1991 as a film and video production company expanded in the late 1990s to work in new media.
“Companies, small, medium and large, realized that no matter who they are, they needed to have a presence [on the Internet],” Hanson said. “As the Internet matured, people’s bar went up along with their expectation of how good a website needs to look.”
To say the company’s induction into the EBE HOF is an honor would be an understatement, Hanson said.
“To have something as prestigious as this group reaching out and [sharing] a handful of business in Northwest Ohio, Southeast Michigan is truly pretty incredible,” he said.
Hanson said he owes his success to his team.
“I am constantly blown away by the dedication, the loyalty, the intellect [and] the passion that the people that work here have,” he said. “It’s the collective total of all of them that makes this company extraordinary.”
Hanson said he manages his company on one premise: He surrounds himself with excellence and then gets out of their way.
“We have the belief that every customer, every client, should have their Super Bowl,” Hanson said.
Hanson said he likes to work with clients in the long term.
“Rather than a project, we love the opportunity to work with a client at its most significant level and help them be successful,” he said. “I think that’s probably what we value the most.”
— Matt Liasse
Business Excellence: American Broadband + Telecommunications
American Broadband + Telecommunications of Toledo has provided customers throughout the Midwest with a comprehensive and innovative suite of communications services since 2004.
President Jeff Ansted said he is honored the company is being recognized for business excellence by the EBE HOF.
“We appreciate the recognition and could not have realized such success without the contributions of all our employees with their hard work to achieve the growth we have,” he said.
Ansted started the business in Sylvania in 2003.
“We’re rapidly expanding, having quadrupled our customer base since 2011. We credit our success to finding a niche for services that we deliver efficiently and support effectively,” he said.
American Broadband began by serving customers in Ohio and Michigan, but now offers communications services to commercial and residential customers in 15 states, Ansted said. He said the company has added wireless service and its commercial base is growing.
The company now has 85 full-time employees, of which 65 are located at its Downtown Toledo offices. The other employees work out of numerous sales offices across the Midwest to serve customers in those areas.
“We are the largest telecommunications company you’ve never heard of,” Ansted said, explaining how the company generates business with very little advertising.
The company provides local and long-distance telephone service, high-speed Internet, DISH Network digital television, dedicated broadband services and information and communications technology services for residential customers. It also handles commercial accounts that include small businesses to large institutions and municipal operations.
“We are able to offer our business and residential customers with telecommunications solutions built to fit their unique needs and at competitive prices,” Ansted stated on the company’s website. “We take pride in delivering those solutions with top-notch customer service to our neighbors throughout the Midwest.” O
— Duane Ramsey
Business Excellence: Oasis Restaurant and Delivery
What started in 2008 as the Campus Oasis at the intersection of Dorr Street and Secor Road has grown into a multi-million dollar business with six locations and nearly 350 employees.
Now, in addition to the original restaurant, Oasis Restaurant & Delivery has locations on Laskey and Reynolds roads in Toledo as well as locations in Bowling Green and Perrysburg. On Nov. 10, its sixth restaurant will open in Oregon. The company hopes to open a location in Sylvania in the near future and then expand into another market.
“We wanted to be able to deliver convenience through wide variety, and to be known for dine-in quality food with fast, casual pricing and delivery,” said president, CEO and majority partner Moyad “Mo” Dari.
Dari and his business partner Moe Swidan got their start at Cottage Inn Pizza, and in 2004 started experimenting with another model at their Byrne Road restaurant.
Transforming it into Cottage Inn Pizza and Grill, they expanded their offerings and met with success. In 2006, they started searching for real estate and in 2007 bought the location at Dorr and Secor. In 2008, Oasis was born.
Recently, Dari and Swidan have been joined by additional partners who have stepped up as advisers and investors: attorney Pete Silverman, financial advisers Fred and Jay Treuhaft, and Zach Ottenstein, director of marketing and communications for Health Care REIT.
Oasis offers a wide variety of menu items, including pizza, subs, salads, baked potatoes, burgers, wraps and gyros, quesadillas, ribs, fried chicken, shrimp, fish, wings, hotdogs, shakes and ice cream. Dari said this variety sets Oasis apart from other restaurants, along with a dedicated customer service call center and late-night delivery.
Dari said he hopes to double sales to $20 million by the end of next year when they open four more units in another market and grow to approximately 500 employees.
Also in the works for the near future is a “brand repositioning,” including a name change, prompted by the growth and evolution of Oasis over the last several years, said Dari, adding that this will most likely happen in early 2015 before Oasis moves into its next market.
Dari said being inducted into the EBE HOF means a lot.
“I feel like we are being recognized in the area for doing the right things,” he said. “We are very community oriented, and we want people to know that we are involved and will continue to be involved. We want to make a difference in this community.”
Excellence in Family Business: Rima Manufacturing
Rima Manufacturing of Hudson, Mich., will be inducted into the EBE HOF in the category of Excellence in Family Business.
“Receiving this award is an important moment for me,” said CEO Ed Engle Jr. “I’m 72 years old and have dedicated my working career to Rima since 1970. This award is an affirmation that what I believed in all those years — a family-owned and community-oriented business — were right and good values worthy of my life’s work.”
Rima is a supplier of precision machined metal components produced primarily for automotive applications such as braking, fuel fluid control, HVAC and transmissions. The company’s products include brackets, bushings, valves, fittings, tube connectors, couplings, pins, shafts, spools and pistons.
The ranks of Rima’s workforce have grown along with the company, which now employs 105 workers.
“We believe that their work and dedication to Rima is the foundation of our success,” Engle said. “Consequently, we feel a personal responsibility back to them and their families; and we satisfy that responsibility by conducting our business in a prudent, honest, competent and profitable manner.”
Rima was founded in 1955 by Edward Engle Sr. Engle Jr.’s son, Jed Engle, serves as president and his daughter, Laura Tomasello, is an engineer who oversees the manufacturing operations.
The company was originally located in a wooden building on Munson Highway. A year later, Rima moved operations to a sturdier cinderblock building and in 1960, the machining department was founded. In 1978, Rima moved to its current location. The company now works out of two facilities with a total of 50,000 square feet of manufacturing space.
In 1980, the family established Rima Canada in Kingsville, Ontario, to better serve its Canadian customers.
“During those 59 years, we have sustained our entrepreneurial spirit by remaining committed to God, strong family values, high professional standards, long-lasting relationships and economic well-being,” Engle said.
— Duane Ramsey